Why You Need LinkedIn

by Alicia Smyth

Last week, the Career Services Office  gave a presentation on Social Media and Your Job Search and only four students showed up. Since there is a very good chance you weren’t there, I’m going to share some of the important information you missed.

It’s vital for you to know that you need to start building your network before you actually need a favor from someone. While a few people may be more than happy to help a complete stranger who cold-called them wanting help getting into their company, the reception will be much warmer if it is someone you actually know and with which you have a rapport.

Lucky for you, the internet has made networking easy. A LinkedIn account is a must for any college student who has career aspirations…even ROTC students! Why? Because networking is not just about getting an inside track to landing a job. Your network (i.e., who you know) can help propel your career further even if you already have a position. Life takes many unexpected turns, so again, it is important to be ready in case you ever need help someday.

Below, you will find links for some amazing LinkedIn resources. They will help you to maximize LinkedIn to its full potential. There is even one that explains what LinkedIn is, in case you didn’t know.

Once you have a LinkedIn account, fully complete your profile and then start inviting people to connect with you. You can load your email distribution list to do this if you want. Connect with classmates (they are your future colleagues and partners out in industry), professors, Embry-Riddle staff, friends, your parents’ friends, current and former coaches, etc. And when you meet new people (including recruiters), connect with them too. Just be sure to include a personalized request, not the default message you see; let the individual know how they know you.

What’s more, there are over 26,000 Embry-Riddle alumni on LinkedIn. You can find them by completing the education information in your profile and then visiting http://www.linkedin.com/college.

When you have a complete profile and a few connections under your belt, you are ready to begin interacting on LinkedIn. You can do some pretty amazing things with LinkedIn that can help you in many ways. Examples include researching companies for work or for class projects, joining some of the many groups on LinkedIn that cater to aviation and aerospace, posting status updates that give people an idea of the things you are working on (related to your professional life, not your social life), getting recommendations from others on your personality and the quality of your work, and joining various discussions that are taking place within groups.

The more you interact on LinkedIn, the more you increase your reputation (aka personal brand). Then, when a prospective employer Googles you to find out who you really are, they will see all of the great things you are doing to move your career forward. And if you are doing everything right, there is a good chance that hiring manager might already be one of your first, second or third level connections.

For more information on how to best utilize LinkedIn, it is strongly recommended that you review all of the resources below…

Alicia Smyth has been with the Career Services Office at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University since 2000. In her time at Embry-Riddle, Alicia has worked primarily at the Daytona Beach campus but has also served in roles with Prescott and Worldwide. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Florida and a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Central Florida. Alicia currently serves as the director and information systems manager for Career Services and loves all things social media and technology. 

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